The Council for a Healthy Dent County was formed in November 2010. Healthy Dent County’s (HDC) mission is dedicated to providing opportunities to improve health and quality of life by partnering with our community. HDC is housed in the Salem Community Center @ the Armory, the only Community Center in our small rural community. HDC manages the Community Center which houses a fully equipped 500 member Fitness Center. The Community Center has grown to be the place where health, education and community meet. Along with the HDC offices and the Fitness Center, there is also a 5,400 event center that that hosts many community events each year, such as banquets, annual fundraising events, athletic practices and reunions as well as HDC programming. In early 2018 HDC embarked on a $1.2 million capital campaign to build a new regulation size basketball gymnasium addition onto the facility. This new addition will be complete in late 2019.
HDC is currently working to reduce Childhood Obesity by 5% in 5 years. This is being sponsored by a Missouri Foundation for Health, Healthy Schools Healthy Communities grant. These grants have addressed childhood obesity through prevention efforts in selected areas. HSHC bring together schools, community organizations, businesses, partners, and residents to identify and advocate for changes that increase access to healthy food and physical activity where our kids live, learn and play. We have made a great impact, using grant implementation funds, on the infrastructure at the city park and area schools. With a recent MFH Community Convening grant we have partnered with many local health organizations to improve health equity. Programs and projects we are currently implementing are only successful because of the many local partnerships that we have established and strengthened. Many local collaborations and partnerships have been formed while others have been strengthened.
Dent County is a small rural community located in South Central Missouri with just over 15,000 residents in the county and just under 5,000 in Salem, the only town in the county. Salem is located in the heart of the Ozarks approximately 2 hours west of St. Louis, two hours east of Springfield, two hours south of Columbia and 2 hours north of Cape Girardeau. The county is mostly rural with a majority of people living outside Salem city limits. HDC serves the entire population of Dent County while partnering on several projects with surrounding counties.